The Hylozoists

La Fin du Monde

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Although this album is the brainchild of Paul Aucoin, the number of people assisting him makes an ensemble like Broken Social Scene seem almost small. Featuring former members of the Guthries as well as some assistance from Owen Pallett from Final Fantasy and Arcade Fire, the record is a very organic yet lush, orchestral-leaning experience. The tender, deliberate, and cinematic "The Fifty Minute Hour" leads into a winding, '70s progressive rock feeling supported by string-laced psychedelic textures. Meanwhile, "Elementary Particles" contains a dark, haunting quality even if the traditionally warm sounds of vibraphones are used. Perhaps the greatest asset is how tight and polished the songs sound with all the different instruments weaving in and out of songs, especially the country-leaning but bubbly "Smiley Smiley," which leaves one wanting more. "Strait Is the Game" is the first pop-sounding tune even with the layers of strings and off-kilter percussion fuelling it. Aucoin builds the momentum as each song goes along, leading to a pretty female vocalist leading the lullaby-like and appropriately named "Hearts and Harps," which is quite easy on the ears. Another strong selection is the epic, bombastic "Warning Against Judging a Christian Brother," which is part orchestral and part spaghetti Western. The Hylozoists hit their already high-quality stride during the inviting and alluring "If Only Your Heart Was a Major Sixth," which brings to mind David Byrne's Grown Backwards album. The lone song leaving the smallest sense of pretension is "Man Who Almost Was," which somewhat misses the mark. There is also a look back at the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" with a similar creation called "Lover Becomes Lovers." Aucoin wraps the record up with the title track, which would even make a small music box dancer figurine swoon.

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